Water and Wastewater Issues

Planning and Development
Eoin Wrafter, Commissioner



Model Aquifer Protection Laws
Dutchess County has been working with hydrogeologist Russell Urban-Mead (The Chazen Companies) to develop a model zoning law for the protection of groundwater resources. The model law includes sections to improve pumping tests, provides guidance for cluster subdivision layout, and to require greater stormwater infiltration goals. The model aquifer protection law can be adapted to complement existing wetlands and stream protection laws to achieve full watershed management protection. The model law can either be adopted as a simple, single-level aquifer protection law which is less costly for municipalities to adopt and provides a more generic management program, or as a two-level aquifer law requiring an aquifer map and providing priority protection for more heavily used aquifers or vulnerable aquifer areas.

     Explanation of Model Aquifer Protection Laws (.pdf)
     Version 1: Water Quality and Capacity Protection (.pdf) (Map required)
     Version 2: Water Quality and Capacity Protection (.pdf) (No map required)

Aquifer Recharge Rates & Sustainable Septic System Density Recommendations
Read this groundbreaking 2006 report on Dutchess County-wide aquifer recharge rates to learn about the relationship between sustainable septic system densities and aquifer recharge. Aquifer recharge rates are critical variables used to develop water budgets for sites, municipalities or watersheds. The septic system density section of this report is applicable to areas where central water and/or sewer systems are not in use, including most of Dutchess County's many outlying suburban and rural communities. Recently collected domestic well data confirm that parcels using wells and septic systems that are smaller than those recommended by this report face higher water quality threats from nitrate contamination, a component released from septic systems.

     CLICK HERE to view the entire aquifer recharge report (.pdf)

     For a brief overview of the information in this report, view the May 2007 issue of
     our eNewsletter: Septic Systems: How Close is Too Close? (.pdf)

Pleasant Valley Municipal Aquifer Report (2007)
The Town of Pleasant Valley commissioned this 2007 study in an effort to better understand groundwater relationships throughout the Town and to inform water resource planning recommendations. The report concludes that, while Pleasant Valley currently has ample groundwater supply, some locally-recognized problem areas and impacts to streams indicate that a formal water resource management strategy should be considered. The report includes educational photographs of various aquifer terrains, a Town groundwater flow map, a discussion of recharge rates, and a preliminary assessment of where existing parcels using wells and septic systems fall below recommended minimum average parcel sizes. A series of water resource planning recommendations are included in this report.

     CLICK HERE to view the Pleasant Valley Municipal Aquifer Report (.pdf) (7 MB)


USGS Real-Time Water Data for Dutchess County
View real-time water data for the last 1-60 days for the Wappinger Creek and Housatonic River.

County-Wide Groundwater Management Program Kayak Lake
Dutchess County began establishing a groundwater capacity monitoring program in 2002, currently consisting of approximately a dozen aquifer level recording stations across the County. This program focuses on identifying aquifer and stream responses to seasonal rainfall patterns, and assesses practical implications of such stresses on domestic wells, streams and aquifers. Annual reports were developed for several years to establish resulting patterns, and future summary reports will focus more specifically on areas of concern. An updated report is pending.

     2005 County Groundwater Monitoring Report (.pdf) 
     2004 County Groundwater Monitoring Report (.pdf) 
     2003 County Groundwater Monitoring Report (.pdf) 
     2002 County Groundwater Monitoring Report (.pdf)

Harlem Watershed Investigation (1999) 
Local municipalities in the Harlem Valley corridor commissioned this study of the TenMile River watershed in order to identify and characterize the regional aquifer systems, inventory existing land uses that may pose a threat to water quality in the area, and to develop a comprehensive water resource management and protection program for implementation by all of the affected municipalities.

     Table of Contents & Executive Summary (.pdf)
     Aquifer Assessment (.pdf)
     Groundwater Threats and Susceptibility (.pdf)
     Planning Considerations (.pdf)
     Recommendations, References, Acronyms & Definitions (.pdf)
     Tables (.pdf)
     Figures (.pdf)
     Appendix A: Hydrogeologic Sub-Investigations (.pdf)
     Appendix A (cont'd): Tables & Figures (.pdf)
     Appendix B: Dover Land Use Survey Questionnaire (.pdf)
     Appendix C: Community Planning and Zoning Inventories (.pdf) 

Adobe Acrobat required to view .pdf files: 

Go to top of page